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Reading Rooms

Reading Rooms

General Reading Room

The main purpose of the Humanities Reading Room is to serve the general public and public researchers in the humanities. The collection is sorted by sub-topics, so that each book is displayed with English characters and in sequence.

General Reading Room Collection

The humanities and social sciences collection is designed to support research in the Library's main areas of expertise - Judaism, Israel, Islam and the Middle East, and also to provide the general public with information in these and other areas of interest.

The reading room includes a large number of primary sources, reference materials and academic journals, organized by topics:

  • Reference books, encyclopedias, biographies and dictionaries
  • History of Christianity
  • Western Philosophy
  • History of the ancient world, Greece and Rome, Europe, and United States
  • Classical studies
  • History of the book and printing

The General Reading Room also holds a large selection of books in the fields of the social sciences (political science, international relations, economics, political ideology, terrorism, human rights), general literature, linguistics of European languages ​​and art.

Opening Hours

​Sunday-Thursday: 09:00-20:00​

Friday: 09:00-13:00​

Library services are available until 15 minutes before closing.

Phone: 074-733-6420

E-mail: [email protected]

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Israel, Judaica, Islam and Middle East

The Israel and Judaica Reading Room

The Judaica Reading Room provides services for users interested in Judaism and the Land of Israel. The reading room is frequented by scholars from all over the world, students and readers, who make use of its rich collection of books and the opportunity to exchange ideas. The reading room is organized by subject, with each book classified with a Hebrew letter and a number.

The Judaica Collection in the Reading Room

The collection comprises texts in many languages, among them Hebrew, English, French, German, Russian, Judeo-Arabic, and more. There are some 32,000 items in the collection, including books, periodicals and microfilms. All aspects of Judaism are covered: Bible, Apocrypha, Mishna, Talmud, Midrash, Halacha, Jewish law, Jewish thought, morality literature, Hassidism, Kabbalah, prayer, Jewish bibliographies, Hebrew language and literature, Jewish history in various countries and periods, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, the Land of Israel, Zionism, archeology of Israel, Jewish folklore, Jewish education, Jewish art, and more. The reading room also houses a section devoted to Jewish encyclopedias, periodicals and newspapers.

The reading room houses several special collections, such as the Paul Jacobi genealogy collection and the Dan Bar-Lev collection, a collection of Jerusalem books with a subject index in Hebrew, a collection of Holy Land travel books, a collection of Festschrifts and memoirs of Judaic orientation, Judaica databases, etc.

Judaica and Israel Help Desk

As part of our expanded and improved service, expert librarians on the subjects of Judaica and Israel are available to answer your questions in the Judaica and Israel Reading Room.

​This service is available Sunday-Thursday: 10:00-16:00.

To ask a short question or to schedule an appointment call: 074-7336435.

You can also contact the Reference Department 

The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Reading Room

The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Reading Room attracts researchers and students from throughout Israel, as well as scholars from Europe and the USA.

The reading room includes numerous reference sources, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, academic databases on different subjects, and journals accessible to all visitors.

The Islam and Far-East Reference Desk is open during the following hours:

​Sunday-Thursday: 10:00-16:00​

Friday: 09:00-13:00​

For short questions or to set up a meeting in advance call: 074-733-6436

​You can also contact the Reference Department ​​

Opening Hours

Sunday-Thursday: 09:00-20:00​

Friday: 09:00-13:00​

Library services are available until 15 minutes before closing.

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Photo: Hanan Cohen

The Gershom Scholem Collection Reading Room

The Gershom Scholem Collection Reading Room is situated on the second floor of the Library, opposite the General Reading Room. The room actually includes two separate rooms. The inner room (named after the late Professor Yeshayahu Berlin) contains most of the Kabbalistic and Hasidic works, and also serves as a reading room for all the rare books held by the National Library of Israel. The outer room houses mainly research and ancillary works, as well as books in the fields of religious studies, general mysticism, philosophy, and so forth. This room includes several computer stations equipped with relevant databases.

Opening Hours

Sunday – Thursday 09:00 – 16:00


Dr. Zvi Leshem - Head of the Scholem Library's staff


Photo: Hanan Cohen

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Special Collections Reading Room

This reading room is also known as the archive and manuscript room. In addition to reading archive material and photographs of manuscripts, in this room it is possible to study the original manuscripts preserved in the Library, as well as rare printed books. You must receive special authorization​ for this. ​

Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts​

A collection of microfilmed Hebrew manuscripts from a wide range of libraries and private collections throughout the world. This collection is mainly preserved in the form of microfilm which can be ordered in the Special Collections Room.

There is no need for special authorization or advanced booking to view them; simply go to the room and you will receive the microfilms within a short time.

Please note, many manuscripts have already been scanned. Some of them can only be viewed inside the Library building, and some anywhere in the world. You can search for manuscripts on “Ktiv” website.

In addition, you can scan or order a scan of manuscripts in accordance with the Scanning Procedure.

Materials from the Archives Department​ can also be viewed in this room.

Additional authorization is required in order to view archival items. To receive authorization, please refer to the service desk in the room.

Viewing Rare Items

Viewing rare items requires additional authorization. Please contact the loan department to receive authorization.

Ordering Rare Items

Ordering Archival Items

In order to maintain the temperature and humidity conditions required for preserving such important and precious treasures, a special reading room was built for the viewing of rare materials.

Due to the importance of the items brought here, the Special Collections reading room is equipped with security cameras. Readers are asked to comply with the instructions for review of manuscripts, rare books and archive material​. ​

Self Service Scanning

In the department there is a self service photocopy desk.

  • You may only scan after receiving permission from the staff at the service desk.
  • Please note, permission for copying must be obtained from the source library, unless it is a library which granted advance authorization to copy from its collections.
  • The scans can be saved on a USB Flash Drive or sent by e-mail.
  • Payment can be made by credit card or with a library photocopy card.
  • Price: 2 NIS per scan.

Service is available: Sunday – Thursday, 9:00 am – 5:45 pm.

Opening Hours:

Sunday – Thursday: 9 am - 6 pm.

Rare books are available to read from 9am - 3:45 pm, but must be collected by 3 pm.

Other Library services will be provided until 15 minutes before closing time.

The room is closed on Fridays.

The room is on floor -1 (the cafeteria floor).

Telephone numbers for questions and inquiries: 074-7336266, 074-7336480.

For information about reviewing photocopies of manuscripts: [email protected].

For information about archival materials: [email protected].

Alexander Gordin​, the Service Coordinator for our Special Collections, is responsible for this room.

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Edelstein Collection Reading Room

The Edelstein Collection covers all areas of the history, philosophy and sociology of science. It includes primary sources as well as secondary literature, periodicals and a reference section. Most books are English, but there are also works in French, German, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Hebrew. The books in this collection deal with the whole spectrum of thought between the exact and the occult, from magic to quantum mechanics, from chiromancy to cognitive sciences, from astrology to space technology.

A broad selection of the Edelstein Collection has been transferred to the General Reading Room and shall be placed in a designated area in the Library's new building.

Photo: Ofrit Assaf

Photo: Ofrit Assaf

Music Center

​The Music Center is located on the first floor of the Library. It is open to the public Sunday-Thursday, from 9:00-16:00. While the Center is open, visitors can have access to notes, books and personal archives found in the Center. They can also listen to digital samples from the Sound Archive's collections.

The Music Center has regular desks for readers and wide desks for researchers. At the front desk you can receive headphones for use in the Music Center, in exchange for an identification card.

The Center's staff will be happy to assist you in finding materials through the catalogue.

Photo: Hanan Cohen

Photo: Hanan Cohen

The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection

Visitors to the reading room can request assistance from the expert reference staff and use reference materials in the field of ancient cartography (journals and research works). It is also possible to order a scanned copy of a map for personal or commercial research purposes (e.g. journals and books), and map posters are also available.

Opening Hours
Sunday-Thursday: 09:00-14:00​
Library services are available until 15 minutes before closing.
Collection Manager: Ayelet Rubin
Tel.: 074-733-6432

Photo: Uri Bareket

Photo: Uri Bareket